Bronze medalist South Africa's Chad le Clos poses with his medal following the men's 200m butterfly final a. Photo: Lee Jin-man/AP Photo

GWANGJU  Swimmer Chad le Clos won South Africa’s first medal at the at the World Long-Course Championships in Gwangju, South Korea on Wednesday grabbing bronze in the 200m butterfly.

The four-time world champion raced out of the blocks, leading the field over the two laps with Hungarian sensation Kristof Malik reeling him in over the second half of the swim.

Malik was in a class of his own smashing American icon Michael Phelps’ world record touching first in a breathtaking 1:50.73. He chopped 0.78s off the record Phelps set in 2009.

Japan’s Daiya Seto finished behind him with a time of 1:53.86 with Le Clos clinching his fifth world championship medal in a time of 1:54.15.

“That was a tough race, I tried my best and went out hard over the first 100 metres, and I felt I could win the race,” Le Clos said.

“He (Malik) was resilient; he was fantastic…1:50 is a freestyle time, so fair play to him. He is a young man with a bright future ahead of him. Nothing changes for me; I will come to hunt him down next year,” concluded Le Clos.

The South African mixed 4x100m medley relay team of Tatjana Schoenmaker, Christopher Reid, Ryan Coetzee and Erin Gallagher posted a new African record of 3:49.90, but failed to make it into the final.

“I think it was a really good race, we got the African record which is awesome to be the fastest team in Africa in the history of swimming, so we are pretty stoked about that result,” Gallagher said.

Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Dune Coetzee raced a brave race in her 200m butterfly heat finishing seventh clocking 2:11.92. The 17-year-old finished 20th overall at her maiden senior world championships. Coetzee needed to set a new personal best to make it into the evening’s semifinals.

In the men’s 200m Individual Medley, Eben Vorster finished eighth in his heat with a time of 2:05.69 missing out on the spot in the next round. 

African News Agency (ANA)